Earlier last week, former Mexican junior national team member Estefania Garcia took to social media and launched allegations of corruption and abuse that had affected her sister, current Mexican national synchronized swimming team member Teresa Alonso Garcia.
Estefania was a member of the Mexican junior national synchronized swimming team and is currently retired from the sport.
Mexican head coach Adriana Loftus is accused of psychologically abusing athletes. Some have also been critical of her appointing of her husband, Alberto Calderon, as Mexico’s team psychologist for the 2017 FINA World Championships.
Garcia further alleged that rather than traveling with the nation’s assistant coach, Loftus appointed her husband as the national team companion. She also says that after finishing in second place at last summer’s Lima 2019 Pan-American Games, athletes were allegedly pressured to donate part of their scholarship money to Loftus’ husband.
Per Estefania’s statement, several other athletes went through the same set of circumstances as did Teresa.
“They were abused both psychologically and physically,” Garcia told SwimSwam. “Due to the pressure that goes along with lowering their weight, the athletes went on hunger strike, self-injected or threw up the food in their systems,” Garcia added.
Garcia’s parents visited Kiril Todorov‘s office in order to discuss Teresa’s situation.
National team member Teresa Alonso’s sister Estefania tells me that her family has spoken to the federation’s president Kiril Todorov about Teresa’s case. They spoke to him on Feb. 7. (Photo via Estefania Alonso, used with permission). pic.twitter.com/v9Yw1ZNjII
— Tomas Rodriguez (@TomasFRoBeltran) February 23, 2020
Since Estefania opened up about her sister’s story, several other athletes have taken to social media and share their personal experiences.
Former national team member Madison Lopez also took to Instagram to share her personal experience on the Mexican national synchronized swimming team. Lopez and Teresa trained together as part of the national synchronized swimming team.
Similar to Estefania, in her account, Lopez disclosed the alleged abuse she faced with Adriana Loftus, forcing her to retire from the sport.
A third athlete, Karen Soto, shared her story by way of YouTube:
Most recently, Teresa Garcia and several other Mexican synchronized swimmers spoke before the Mexican parliament in light of the recent abuse and corruption allegations, per Mexican outlet Milenio.
The Mexican federation has run into several major controversies under Todorov’s administration, including falsifying entry times for the 2015 World Championships, a suspension by FINA for withdrawing from its hosting duties at the 2017 World Championships, and the replacement of the country’s entire technical staff earlier this year after late-2018 disputes.
Resulting from a series of disagreements between Todorov and Mexican Sports Commissioner Ernesto D’Alessio, Mexico faced a ban from both last summer’s Gwangju World Championships as well as the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The controversy came after Mexican Federal Sports Commissioner Ernesto D’Alessio tried to intervene in the selection criteria posted by the Mexican Swimming Federation. D’Alessio questioned the selection criteria for the diving events set to take place in Gwangju.
In response, FINA issued a statement asking for both parties to reach a mutual agreement.
Days after, President of Mexico’s Swimming Federation Kiril Todorov urged D’Alessio to not involve Mexican athletes in politics.
Consequently, D’Alessio sent out a Tweet asking Todorov ‘to quit making videos and get to work.’ Commissioner D’Alessio also posted several Twitter updates accusing Todorov of corruption.
Earlier in September, we reported that Mexico could face a penalty over the swim caps used by the country during the Lima 2019 Panamerican Games.
Then, in October we informed that Todorov accused the federation’s vice-president Rodolfo Zarco Rodriguez in light of an aggression that allegedly occurred during the “Torneo Interclubes Casablanca de Natación” championship meet in the Mexican region of Puebla. Such aggression would have taken place last Oct. 5.
Scarcely one month before that incident, Mexican news outlet proceso.com.mx leaked a list of properties owned by the Todorov family, and how that list does not match with the low income that the family has historically had.
Just a few weeks ago we reported that the federation was accused of concealing their selection criteria for Tokyo. The federation revealed the selection criteria for three of the four disciplines that the federation governs -diving, synchronized swimming, and open water swimming. Such criteria were turned in at the last minute while missing the selection criteria for swimming.
Todorov currently faces several lawsuits and is being investigated by the Mexican government.
SwimSwam has reached out to Mexico’s Swimming Federation for comment but has received no response as of yet.